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July 16, 2008

Running Water

Nearly every day we take six 5-gallon water containers down this hill to the horses.

I’ve wished I had a hose long enough to reach that far, but have jokingly said that there isn’t enough hose in the world. Another option would be a pump to move water from the pond to the trough, but that is out of our budget.

Since my daughter will be busy with a 4-H event for three days this week, and will be leaving town for a week to visit her sister at the end of the month, I will be doing the chores alone. I’m trying to think of ways to make it easier on myself, especially now that we are in the “beginning of the four hottest weeks of summer” according to the weatherman.

This morning I gathered all our hoses, even the one with no connector on one end and the one with holes. Stretched end to end, they only reached about 2/3 of the way down the hill.

Then I remembered the roll of black plastic tubing that was in the dump pile. I pulled that out, and unrolled it. It looks like the two together - the pipe and the hoses - would be just long enough to reach from the spigot in front of the house, down the hill, to the bathtub that the horses use as a water trough. But… I had to connect the two pieces - a garden hose to the black plastic pipe.

I found our extra hose repair kit, but it was the wrong size. Then I thought of the copper tubing that I'd found behind one of the old sheds. I bent it back and forth till I got two 4" pieces. The ends weren't round after I did that - the tubing was bent and crushed when I'd found it - but I used a hammer and at least poked the sharp edges to the inside.

It fit nicely inside the hose with no connector on one end. This would be my hose-to-pipe joint. I put masking tape on the outside of the copper tubing to help it "grab" the inside of the plastic pipe, pushed it into the pipe, used metal hose clamps on both the hose and the plastic pipe, and then wrapped it all with duct tape. It poked down inside far enough that I hoped it would work without "blowing" the hose off. I didn't know what kind of water pressure to expect since it was a long journey, but downhill.

Now, for the test. I went up the hill and turned on the water, then walked back down the hill. There are four places where the water leaks a bit - I'll fix those as time goes on - BUT the hose-to-pipe connection held and doesn't leak! I wired the pipe to the fence where it goes into the water trough so the horses hopefully won't knock it out of the trough, and it won't "jump" out when the water is turned on.

The water pressure was lower than I'd expected, but the four little leaks explain that. The bottom line is that IT WORKS and the trough is now full! Yes, I had to walk up and down the hill several times, but that's because it was the first time. It will be SO much easier now. I won't have to load and unload those heavy 5-gallon jugs from the cart and lug them into the corral through the gate while not letting horses out, and lift them to pour them in the trough. It works!

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